England rugby chief Simon Kemp makes 'significant changes' revelation after injury rise

Paola Ditto
Gennaio 12, 2019

The Professional Rugby Injury Surveillance Project (PRISP) has reported that while concussion injuries are down on last year - one fewer concussion every eight games - it is both the most common and highest burden match injury for the third consecutive year.

"We need to work with World Rugby to think about the future of the game and how we can innovatively design laws to keep the central characteristics of rugby where we want them to be whilst minimising injury risk", says Simon Kemp, RFU's medical services director.

"It is critical that all stakeholders - medics, coaches, officials and players - work together on possible solutions". The injuries appear to be becoming more severe, or perhaps treated more sympathetically, as those suffering injuries in England matches were absent for an average of 30 days compared to 19 days during the overall study period.

"We've been trialling the reduced tackle height into the Championship Cup", Kemp added.

The injury data report follows a year in which several players returned to their clubs unable to play after injuries sustained on global duty.

"We obviously discussed the situation at the PGB a few months ago and what we did as a result of that was look at the transition of players from their club environments into the worldwide environment", said RFU acting chief executive Nigel Melville.

"Obviously worldwide rugby is played at a greater intensity so training is at a greater intensity so we are trying to manage that transition", he told journalists.

Lowering the height of the tackle and taking action against players who make contact with the head is now a major focus for the sport but any effect of changes to this area of the game will only be seen in next year's report.

Injuries to England and professional club players have been kept since 2002, and it shows that injury severity has risen steeply overall. "The PRISP data suggests that more significant changes to the game might be needed to reverse these trends".

In total, 38 per cent of all injuries were incurred during training with concussion the most frequent injury in full-contact sessions.

However, the report highlighted the "relatively small" number of training sessions and injuries in the study, meaning the figures should be "interpreted with caution". Overall, more than half - 52 percent - of all match injuries are sustained in the tackle.

The average severity of match injuries in 2017-18 was 37 days.

Details on all injuries sustained by English professional players in club and worldwide matches and training have been recorded and analysed since 2002 in the Professional Rugby Injury Surveillance Project (PRISP) and its report for 2017-18.

Compliance with the mandatory return to play protocols for concussion was again excellent, with no players returning to play in less than six days.

As a player you are aware that injuries happen and that efforts are being made to improve player safety with the new tackle laws, but you tend not to acknowledge it or let it sink into your mind, or influence the way you play.

2017-18 is the first season that the incidence of all injuries was greater for the tackler than the ball carrier.

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